The Year In Preview 2005

Feature written by James Baughn on Friday, December 31, 2004

from the we-don't-need-no-crystal-ball dept.

[Editor's Note: Every year, Humorix publishes a Year In Preview feature in which we offer predictions for the coming year. We are pleased to announce that these predictions have so far resulted in a fantastic 100% success rate. That's right, not one single prediction has come true. As a fake news publication, we can only hope that this perfect record will continue to hold well into the future.]

Jan. 3 -- The SCO Group announces its new product lineup for 2005, including Daimler-Chrysler Appeal 1.0, Novell Slander of Title 2.0, Groklaw Libel Cease-and-Desist 1.0, Red Hat GPL-Is-Unconstitutional 2.0, IBM Discovery Stall Tactics 2.0 Molasses Edition, IBM Contract Violations 17.4, and AutoZone Shakedown 2.1.

"These new and updated products will provide additional value for our shareholders and corporate puppet-masters," says a SCO spokespuppet. "At SCO, our mission is to deliver only the finest litigation-related products and services..."

Jan. 4 -- Several trade publications hail 2005 as the "Year of the Linux Desktop." Similar articles from 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2004 silently disappear from their website archives.

Jan. 17 -- During a conference call, the CEO of Sun Microsystems, Scott McNealy, announces that the company hopes to pursue a new business plan revolving around "Java world domination." "We want to leverage our cross-platform core competencies to facilitate electronic commerce in the global marketplace while earning some scratch," he tries to explain.

Jan. 20 -- In retaliation for helping to torpedo the EU software patent directive, the Microsoft Board of Directors officially declares war against Poland. Several hundred Microsoft lawyers are immediately airlifted to Europe, while the company tries to recruit other US attorneys to join the fight. "Help your country defeat the enemies of capitalism," says one Microsoft leaflet. "Join the Microsoft Barrister Brigade today!"

Jan. 23 -- As part of "Operation Dancing Paperclip", several hundred Microsoft lawyers parachute into the vicinity of Warsaw. "We're going to lay seige to this city and bury it under an avalanche of legal documents until the Polish government surrenders," says Microsoft's Vice President of Foreign Affairs.

Feb. 7 -- The website hosting company eOnlineCheapLinuxHostingWorld.com, which last year offered Slashdot Effect Insurance for its clients, suddenly files for bankruptcy. "After getting hit by the Slashdot Effect ten times in one week, we simply couldn't afford the bandwidth charges. Our request for disaster assistance was denied from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, so our only hope is Chapter 11 bankruptcy..."

Mar. 17 -- Sun changes direction, this time announcing that "cross-platform applications no longer matter" and that "Java is dead." "Our goal is to replace legacy Unix systems with the superior Wintel platform," says a Sun spokesman. "By helping the entire world standardize on Microsoft solutions, we can save businesses trillions of dollars while moving a step closer to world peace."

Mar. 23 -- Microsoft releases XP Service Pack 3, which now includes an innovative feature: built-in viruses. "Much like a vaccine, this patch will install some relatively minor viruses as a form of innoculation against more sinister viruses in the wild," says a Microsoft press release. "These benign viruses will hog system resources, making it much harder for real viruses or malevolent spyware to gain a foothold. At Microsoft, we are always striving to find new innovative ways to increase security."

Mar. 26 -- After discovering that one of the supposedly benign viruses in SP3 can cause catastrophic hard drive failures on days that end in 'y', Microsoft quickly produces a service pack for its service pack.

Apr. 1 -- In a posting to the Linux Kernel Mailing List, Linus Torvalds finally comes clean about the origins of Linux. "I can't keep this conspiracy under wraps any longer," he admits. "I really did steal some of the Linux code from SCO... Every single argument made by SCO over the years is true. I've even been told by my lawyer that the GPL violates the US Constitution. I'm deeply sorry for the horrible mess I've created..."

Apr. 2 -- In response to the Torvalds confession, SCO's remaining employees stage a massive celebration, utterly trashing the company headquarters. Shouts of "We've won! We've won! We've finally beat Linux! IBM is toast! We're going to become billionaires!" echo throughout the building. However, the party quickly ends when somebody realizes that the LKML message was not posted by the real Linus Torvalds, but was instead signed by a Ms. Lirpa Sloof.

Apr. 4 -- Several music labels quietly launch a new DRM-enabled CD format that will emit an eardrum-rupturing sound when played in unauthorized devices. Vowing to fight the "War On Piracy" no matter the cost, the US Congress approves a bill exempting the music industry from lawsuits by people who become deaf at the hands of the technology.

Apr. 15 -- Taking a cue from the dubious rebate programs offered by electronics stores, the State of Missouri announces a similar program for its corporate income tax collections in 2006. "Since these stores enjoy making customers jump through hoops to get reasonable prices, we have no problem with making these same stores jump through hoops to get reasonable tax rates," explains the state treasurer.

Under the plan, stores must pay an additional 40% surcharge on their income taxes, which will be refunded in 4-6 weeks, but only if the company fills out all of the necessary tax rebate forms and postmarks them within a very short time period. Misdirected or improperly completed forms will be discarded. "How do you like them apples?" says the treasurer.

Apr. 22 -- After discovering that they had bitten off more than they could chew, several companies in India decide to re-outsource some of their work back to the United States. One company in Silicon Valley outsourced its software development to India, only to discover that the Indian company then sub-outsourced the work to a companty in Los Angeles, which sub-sub-outsourced the job to a firm in Arkansas. The Blartner Group reports, "Instead of eliminating middle-men, the Internet has actually provided a greater market for them..."

May 11 -- At a Congressional hearing by the Committee For Sucking Up To Large Corporations, Bill Gates argues that the source code to Windows is worth an estimated 29.2 "skazillion" dollars. "This is the single-most important asset in the history of capitalism... If Congress does not act to protect this critical resource with stronger copyright laws, our national security will be at risk. What's good for Microsoft is good for the country... and the children."

May 16 -- In a surprise blow to Microsoft, the State of California suddenly announces that intellectual property, like tangible property, is subject to property taxes. "Since Microsoft admitted in Congress last week that its source code is worth skazillions of dollars, we estimate that the company will owe $934 billion in property taxes for 2005," says the Governator. "This will single-handedly balance the California budget..."

May 23 -- In a letter to Congress, The SCO Group warns that Linux and Unix system contain a device called /dev/random that could, if executed enough times, theoretically generate an already copyrighted work, such as the Windows source code. "This device is clearly a violation of the DMCA... all Linux distributors should be held criminally liable for its existence. Several mega-skazillion dollars worth of intellectual property could be at risk..."

June 2 -- As part of its latest stall tactic, The SCO Group files a motion alleging that IBM used "top-secret time-travel technology" to steal SCO's valuable intellectual property from the past. A reporter for LinuxInsider.com immediately hails the revelation as "the smoking gun that SCO has always promised to deliver" and then boasts "Linux is toast."

June 3 -- While reading SCO's time-travel filing, a Utah court clerk starts rolling on the floor laughing and breaks a leg in the process.

June 17 -- As expected, Sun makes a sudden U-turn in its business strategy by announcing that the company wants to fully embrace open source software. "The success of Linux will translate into success for the entire industry," says a company press release. "Java is cool again." The company also promises (for the umpteenth time) to release the source code to Solaris in the "fourth quarter," but they fail to mention which year.

June 30 -- The US Treasury Department signs a multi-billion dollar deal with Microsoft to sell sponsorship rights to the $20 and $100 bills. The boring presidential portraits will be replaced by various Microsoft ads, while the phrase "In God We Trust" will become "In Microsoft You Spend".

July 14 -- Calling Linux security "an absolute joke," the Blartner Group reports that only 0.05% of Linux machines have anti-virus software installed and running. In the report's conclusion, study author Blort Blartner chastises the Linux community for exhibiting such a "reckless disregard for viruses and worms" that could result in "gazillions of dollars worth of damage."

July 15 -- Responding to Blartner, one Linux distributor says, "We don't think it's worthwhile to waste valuable CPU cycles on such nonsense, especially since our anti-virus software would be indistinguishable from the output of the command, 'cat /dev/random > /dev/null'."

July 25 -- Humorix celebrates its 7th anniversary, making it the longest-lived low-budget Linux humor website in the history of Linux. The site's readership skyrockets 50% during the year from two regular readers to three.

Aug. 5 -- Thanks to growing nostalgia for the "good ole days", the University of Western Kansas announces a new series of computer classes based on 1980's technology. Courses include Advanced DOS Batch File Programming, Introduction To GW-BASIC Algorithms, Getting The Most From OS/2, and more.

"We've had many students express an interest in learning about technology from the halcyon days when spam was still a canned meat product, worms only lived in the ground, and phishing was a leisure activity enjoyed on a river bank," says the university president.

Aug. 17 -- Another press conference, another Sun mood swing. This time open source is no longer the answer. "The 'bazaar' development model is simply too bizarre," Sun says. "We want to push proprietary Unix software that can be managed sensibly by one company while ensuring the highest possible quality and security. This level of integrity is simply not possible with Linux because it has thousands of contributors of all ages from across the globe each with their own agenda."

Aug. 26 -- In yet another twist to the ongoing saga of Days Of Our Lawsuits, several SCO executives appear on television claiming that they were kidnapped two years ago and held at a secret location, while body doubles ran the company in their place.

"We would never run this company into the ground, and yet that's exactly what our captors have done. Obviously a conspiracy of epic proportions is at work here," says the real Barl McDride. "All of these court cases were filed under false pretenses... we have just filed a brief with the court asking for a delay until we can straighten out this mess..."

Aug. 29 -- After reading SCO's stop-the-trial-we-were-kidnapped motion and nearly choking to death from uncontrollable laughter, the court clerk announces her resignation, saying, "I can't work under these conditions anymore..."

Sept. 17 -- Like clockwork, Sun yet again changes its business strategy. Now open source is the biggest innovation since the transistor, and Sun wants the movement to achieve world domination. "Here we have millions of people willing to develop software for free, while Sun will be able to reap huge rewards by selling hardware and support. Our recent attacks against Linux have been terribly misguided."

Sept. 28 -- The governments of Estonia and Latvia pledge to provide over $100 million in aid and assistance to help upgrade the United States' stone-age telecommunication system. "In Latvia, almost everybody has access to broadband Internet and dirt-cheap cell phones," says a government official. "It's time to give something back to the world community and help those less fortunate, such as the bandwidth-impoverished citizens of the US still stuck with dial-up access as their only choice..."

Oct. 4 -- Blogging through interpretive dance quickly becomes the latest hot trend to hit the Internet. Hundreds of new "d-blogs" pop up within a week, providing live coverage of world events through interpretive dance, pantomime, and sign language. "I'm no longer confined by ASCII text... I can express myself physically through a live video feed," says one d-blog pioneer. "And if visitors are at work, they can have their audio muted and still understand my message..."

Oct. 17 -- Now Sun is in bed with Microsoft again. Says Scott McNealy, "In a recent letter, Microsoft politely reminded us that our recent praise of Linux and open source is in direct violation of our April 2004 partnership agreement. We love Microsoft and we fully support Windows software running on Intel hardware. I repeat, we love Microsoft... let there be no doubt."

Nov. 1 -- Hoping to capitalize on everybody's favorite capitalist company, the city of Redmond receives a $2.4 million federal grant to open a Microsoft Museum and Visitor Center. The museum will include several historic artifacts, including the centerpiece, a dog-eared copy of the Macintosh User Interface Guide in which Bill Gates personally wrote annotations like "We need to copy this feature" and "Explorer sounds better than Finder" and "Let's call this 'Recycle Bin' instead."

Nov. 5 -- Slashdot finally discovers blogging through interpretive dance and posts a story about the rapidly spreading meme -- twice.

Nov. 12 -- Porn sites quickly embrace the d-blogging concept, providing live all-nude videos. "These video feeds should not be considered obscene... they feature interpretive dance, which is a form of high art (wink, wink)," says the webmaster of Miss February's All-Nude 24/7 Interpretive Dance Dot Com. "The fact that the participants are not wearing clothes is merely coincidental."

Nov. 17 -- In an interview, Scott McNealy says, "We realize Windows and Linux are both here to stay, so we hope to make money by offering products and services to both sides. Sun wants to fully embrace open source, while also fully embracing proprietary software. And we still love Microsoft..." Critics condemn the latest strategy as "two-faced," but some industry observers argue, "There's nothing here we haven't already seen from Sun."

Nov. 21 -- With the growing popularity of gift cards, the US Treasury announces that all future currency will include expiration dates. "People don't seem to mind the expiration dates on gift certificates, so this is a logical step for us," says a Treasury spokesperson. "This move will also fight terrorism (and help the children) by encouraging terrorists to use easily-tracked credit cards instead of anonymous cash that will now only last for a few days."

Dec. 2 -- The newly created Free Hardware Foundation, headed by Richard M. Stallman, finally demonstrates a practical, non-evil application for DRM hardware. Using an open BIOS architecture, the system will refuse to run any software that is not released under an open source license.

"Our DRM system is designed to manage and protect your digital rights, not the rights of Hollywood executives jockeying to buy their fifth luxury yacht," RMS explains. "The idea is simple: All software must include the source code, which is compiled on the fly by the CPU. All binary code will be automatically chucked into /dev/null."

In another interview, RMS adds wryly, "This is one platform Microsoft will not be able to embrace and extinguish. If they try to force Windows to run on this hardware by hacking the DRM restrictions, then they will be in violation of the DMCA. Bwahahahaha!"

Dec. 23 -- The US government announces a partnership with Santa Claus to share spy information. "Santa's naughty-or-nice list is exactly the kind of intrusive database that we need to fight terrorists and save the children," explains the Attorney General. "In exchange for access to his North Pole spy network, Santa will receive our terrorist watch list to make sure he doesn't inadvertantly provide toys or other assistance to the relatives of suspected terrorists, which would be a federal crime."

Dec. 25 -- The Johnson family of Vineland, New Jersey, is rudely awakened by a team of hired goons at their front door demanding to see the license for their home's copyrighted floorplan. When they bought the house last year, they weren't told the original floorplan had been featured in the July 1979 issue of Better Hovels and Shacks Magazine and was still copyrighted by the architect.

"Floorplan piracy is a growing problem that we must tackle," says Shay Kuhdowne, chief of the BIAA (Blueprint Industry Association of America). "Ignorance of the law is no excuse not to maintain the necessary paperwork for your home's floorplan license. Violators will be hunted down and punished severely."

Dec. 31 -- In a Slashdot poll, 51% of geeks believe that Microsoft will finally release Windows Longhorn by the time the SCO vs. IBM case goes to trial. However, the general consensus is that both of these events will not occur before 2008, if they happen at all.

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